Jim Langstaff was a Canadian doctor who practised in the early 20th century. He was known for his extraordinary commitment to the welfare of his patients. For example, upon learning a woman who lived on an isolated farm was about to have a baby and needed medical help immediately Dr Langstaff set off. It was a bitterly cold winter’s day and the roads had become unusable. Undeterred Dr Langstaff strapped on his skis and continued. Snowdrifts on the road made skiing difficult so he took to the fields beside the road. At one point he tripped over a fence and became badly tangled in the wire. He freed himself, continue don to the farm house, delivered the baby and, once the weather had cleared, returned to his car.

People who knew Dr Langstaff say that sort of dedication was typical of the good doctor. It came from a sense of place in the world instilled into him by his father. One day Dr Langstaff’s son Walter came to his father and said “Dad, I got 99% in mathematics on my report card.” His father responded, “That’s great, but are you being a good citizen.”

Decades later the words still challenged Walter. “I have remembered that remark for the last 45 years” he said. “Was I being a good citizen?”

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